Eidolon

The Great Detective keeps his gun over the map of the city with all the little pins stuck into it. The pins have little flags on them with the secret special code he invented that tells him where the file on that crime is in his secret special file cabinets. Every Thursday he takes the gun down and disassembles it, makes sure everything is in perfect working order, that the one bullet is still in the chamber.

Every weekend he goes to the firing range and drills until he can put six bullets through the same hole in the paper target, until he can hit the same pockmark on the concrete wall each and every time, until all of this comes to him as naturally as breathing. The Great Detective knows he will get only one shot, that he can’t afford to miss.

He is alone one night, brooding over the most recent crimes of His Archnemesis, when there is a step in the hallway, one he knows better than his own. There is a hand on the latch — the door opens — the beloved voice calls his name — the Great Detectiv’s gun cracks, just once, and a body crumples to the floor with the soft easy grace of a dry leaf. The Great Detective stands watch as the borrowed shape of his brother dissolves back into twenty years of grave rot.